Save the Date for the 2019 AMI Conference!

Save the date for the next AMI conference “Let your Resources Roar!” at Roaring River State
Park, near Cassville MO, September 15-18, 2019. Roaring River State Park is one of Missouri’s
crown jewels and one of the most attended state parks. Key features include the Roaring River
Spring and trout hatchery, Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center, hiking, camping, Roaring
River Hills Wild Area, and Hardwood Cove Natural Area. Please make plans to join us for a
wonderful conference where we will find techniques and ideas to help you “Let Your Resources

Care and Feeding of Your Interpretive Program

2019 Interpretive Site Coalition Professional Conference
at Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center
4750 Troost Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64110
Monday, February 4, 2018
8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Everyone can be great because anybody can serve.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here is your personal invitation to the amazing ISC Professional Conference. Please plan to come and invite all your staff and volunteers. The content of this conference will be valuable for supervisors, front-line interpreters, clerical staff and volunteers! There will be a share fair at this conference.

Conference Theme: Whether volunteer, front-line interpreter, clerical staff or supervisor, each role is a crucial
cog in the wheel of our interpretive program. We achieve success by serving each other and our guests.

Meals are provided by ISC. We will serve fruit, pastries, and coffee for breakfast and homemade soups, salads
and bread for lunch.

Please complete the registration form and/or proposal and send them to:

Lisa LaCombe, ISC Program Chair
1401 NW Park Rd
Blue Springs, MO 64015
(816) 655-6263 ext. 1332

Please make checks payable to: Interpretive Site Coalition

Registration Deadline: January 25, 2018

NEW Education Resource: Missouri River Information Packets

Missouri River Relief is excited to announce their “Missouri River Information Packets”, new educational resources. The Missouri River is home to fascinating creatures, as well as many issues. That is why they felt it was necessary to develop information packets. In these packets, a broad range of information is introduced and discussed; from the giants who dwell in the depths, to the consequences of the interaction between cities and the Missouri River.  To download 14 different information packets directly visit:

2018 AMI Awards

Congratulations to all of the 2018 AMI award winners!

Scholarship Winners

Left to Right: Lee Wilbeck – AMI Award Chair, Emily Deeba (Saint Louis University), Jacob Lutes (Missouri Western University), Melissa Nyga (SE Missouri State University).
Not present:  Cole Hoover, University of Central Missouri.

Outstanding Volunteer

Dennis Burd (Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery, Branson)

Outstanding New Interpreter

Karen Seward (Mark Twain State Park) (left to right: Karen Seward, Amber Edwards (awards committee), right: (sorry, I forgot the nominator)

Outstanding Interpretive Effort

Discovery Day Camp: Libby Sanders (Bonebrake Center of Nature and History – Salem)

Outstanding Interpretive Media

 Jamin Bray (Oak Hill R-1 School, Salem) (left to right: Libby Sanders (nominator), Jamin Bray (middle), Rebecca Rodriguez (right – awards committee member)

AMI Giant Award

George Kastler (retired DNR Chief Park Naturalist) (back row left to right: Alan Kastler (son), Neil Kastler (son), Bill Kastler (half-brother)) (front row left to right: George Kastler, Elizabeth Kastler (wife)).

2018 Best Workshop Presentation

Phillip Brinkley (Burr Oak Woods NC) (left to right: Lee Wilbeck, Phillip Brinkley)

Photos courtesy of John Miller.

2018 Conference Registration Information

We invite you to “Cross the Streams: Bring Interpretation and Education Together to Achieve Shared Goals.”
Join us for the 2018 Association of Missouri Interpreters Workshop September 10th – 13th, 2018, at Echo Bluff State Park in Eminence, MO. Echo Bluff State Park, opened in mid-2016, is a 476-acre park featuring Sinking Creek and the former home of Camp Zoe, a summer youth camp that provided outdoor experiences to young people. Now the park is a destination for visitors exploring the fantastic natural resources and local communities in the Ozarks!

At this year’s workshop, both educators and interpreters will find techniques and ideas for engaging with a variety of
audiences, all while having a grand time with a group of wonderful, passionate people!

Workshop Registration:
Full Registration: $90                                     Lifetime Member Registration: $75
Student Registration: $45                                               One-Day Registration: $25

Workshop Location & Accommodations: Echo Bluff State Park

Echo Bluff features the picturesque bluff, playground and splash pad, picnic shelter, and amphitheater. Lodging at Echo Bluff includes:

  • The Lodge – 16 traditional full-service guest rooms and 4 suites (no pets permitted in The Lodge)
  • Park Cabins – fully equipped stacked cabin first-floor units (4), stacked cabin second-floor loft units (4), 2- bedroom cabins (4), and a 4-bedroom cabin
  • Timbuktu Campground – 62 full-service sites as well as walk-in camping

More information about the lodge and its amenities can be found at

GPS Address:
Echo Bluff State Park – 34489 Echo Bluff Drive, Eminence, MO 65466 Coordinates: 37.313515, -91.411840

Because of the smaller number of rooms at this facility, please consider having a roommate. This will help ensure our attendees can all stay at the same location. When you place your reservation, please note with hotel staff you are part of the Association of Missouri Interpreters Workshop to get the group rates.

To Make A Reservation:

  • Call Echo Bluff State Park at (844) 322-3246 for the discounted rate.
  • Mention you are attending the Association of Missouri Interpreters Workshop to receive our group rate. Rooms are available Sunday, September 9th – Wednesday, September 12th for our workshop.
  • Indicate which room type you would like to reserve. Guest services will help pair you with a roommate if requested.

Other lodging is available in Eminence and Salem. Check out “Stay Here” on the Eminence community website: or find Salem accommodations at under the business directory “lodging.”


Workshop Agenda

Our agenda for this workshop is full of fantastic learning experiences! Find everything you need to know about the workshop below. An At-A-Glance agenda can be found at

Monday, September 10th: Pre-Workshop Sessions:

Join us early to add tools to your toolbox whether you are an educator or interpreter! All sessions will leave from Echo Bluff State Park. Dinner is on your own after the trips conclude, but the hospitality room will be open in the evening.

Hike and Float     9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.    ($10 box lunch) Hike from Echo Bluff State Park to Current River State Park, then float (kayaks and instruction provided for this 5-mile float!) to Round Spring.

The hike is relatively strenuous (~5 miles) so wear appropriate shoes and bring a water bottle and sunscreen. Along the way, discover springs, river wildlife and maybe some wild horses!

Ozark Mills: Heritage and Hydrology         9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.    (lunch on own in Licking) $5 donation suggested at each of the two private mills

Tour area grist mills (Alley,  Summersville, Licking, and Montauk) with a focus on the power of water to attract human settlement. Discuss and experience principles of milling that can be incorporated into interpretive programs and teaching curriculum.

Making Pleasant and Productive PowerPoints Afternoon and evening sessions (dinner on your own) 

PowerPoint has an undeserved negative reputation. It can be a powerful tool for communicating information, but many people do not know how to use it. This workshop will explore the theory behind producing an engaging program and then explore some of the useful features of PowerPoint that make production and presentation easier and more aesthetically pleasing (master slides, photo albums, transparent colors, etc.). Features such as animations, embedded media, and hyperlinks, which can make the presentation more enjoyable and interactive, will be discussed.

The workshop will begin at noon on Monday, Sept. 10. The formal presentation will go until 5:00 pm. Bring your personal projects and laptops. (We might have some loaners available.) There will be an after-dinner session in which we will tackle any particular problems you may have with formatting and presenting.

Tuesday, September 11th: Registration Opens at 10:00 a.m.

Workshop Kick-Off begins at 1:00 p.m.

Keynote Speaker – Dr. Ted Cable, Kansas State University

Ted Cable is Professor of Park Management and Conservation in the Department of Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources at Kansas State University. He has authored 15 books, book chapters, scenic byway video scripts, and more than 200 articles, reports, and presentations dealing with human – nature interactions, avian ecology, and environmental interpretation. Three of his books deal specifically with interpretation and in his other books, Dr. Cable uses the written word to interpret birds, landscapes, and the work of conservationists. He has served as Visiting Professor all around the world and has received teaching awards from many agencies such as U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Kansas Wildlife Federation. He has been recognized with the William C. Everhart Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Missouri Interpreters. NAI also awarded him the Master of Interpretation Award and named Dr. Cable a Fellow of the National Association for Interpretation, NAI’s highest honor.

Concurrent Sessions – Detailed agenda will be provided in your packet at registration.

How do you cross the streams for interpretation and education? If you have techniques, strategies, tried and true ways of getting your theme across, share them with your colleagues in education and interpretation by presenting a session. Concurrent sessions will run from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm on Tuesday, September 11th and from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm on Thursday, September 13th. Session times vary from one to two-hour blocks and we welcome any topics related to natural and cultural resources, outdoor skills, environmental education, interpretive administration and MORE! To find the session proposal form, please visit or check your email inbox.

Banquet & Awards

A fine sit-down dinner will be provided by the chefs of Echo Bluff State Park. The annual awards ceremony will follow the meal. The theme for this year’s banquet is Ozark Shindig, so wear your finest overalls and prairie dresses! Afterwards “kick up your heels and rosin up your bow” for the traditional AMI jam session. (Don’t forget to bring your instruments and your dancing shoes!)

Wednesday, September 12th: Workshop Field Trips

Field trips are designed with both interpreters and educators in mind. Your host will focus on incorporating interpretive and educational goals (including Missouri Learning Standards) with an emphasis on authentic, hands-on activities. All trips will leave from Echo Bluff State Park.

After the field trips, two choices for Wednesday night dinner are being offered. You can eat on your own at the Echo Bluff Lodge restaurant or choose to go to the Ozark Cookout, catered by Shannon County Extension Council, 6:00– 7:30 p.m. at the Bluff Top Pavilion. The meal will please meat lovers and vegetarians alike with a combination of Dutch Oven, grilled and other goodies. Cost of the Extension dinner is $10 (sign up for ticket(s) when you register). As an extra treat during that time, there will be a Pie and Cake Walk at the pavilion to raise money for scholarships and stipends (open to all even if you don’t choose to do the Extension supper). Then at 8:00 p.m. let’s all meet back at the Lodge for the always entertaining Scholarship Auction!

Upon This Rock: Ozark Geology and Culture – 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ($10 box lunch): Immerse yourself in geology by spending a day visiting native stone buildings, including Zoe Lodge, Current River Lodge, Shannondale CommunityCenter, Akers Zion Church and more. Explore how the Ozark people used native materials to learn to live on the land they chose. We will explain how similar vernacular architecture examples can be used to teach local geology and the history/culture of any area. Some walking, no extensive hiking. Hosted by Jo Schaper.

Birds, Blooms and more! – 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. ($10 box lunch): Identify diverse birds and fall flowers at Echo Bluff and continue to Current River State Park. Participants will get an up-close view of glade habitats and the role they play in the Missouri Ozarks ecosystems. Some binoculars available, or bring your own!

Wildlife Management – 5:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. ($10 box lunch): Visit Peck Ranch to learn more about cooperative wildlife management strategies for invasive, reintroduced and endangered species. Elk and Feral Hogs will be the primary topics discussed by MDC wildlife biologists. Be advised, possible graphic content. Lunch will be at 1342 ft. on top of Stegall Mountain.

Salem History Tour – 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (lunch on your own in Salem): Visit the Ozark Natural & Cultural Resource Center in Salem to see how the community, organizations, and agencies are sharing the heritage, natural resources, and culture of this region through partnerships and programs. View the quilt exhibit hosted by the Current River Scrappers Quilt Guild. Then explore Salem’s history and historic buildings during a leisurely walking tour through town.

Stream Ecology Float – 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ($10 box lunch): Water quality is a cornerstone for multiple agency management practices in the Missouri Ozarks. Float the Upper Current River, performing stream team cleanup and water quality analyses as used with school groups, such as macroinvertebrate collection and water chemistry. Kayaks and instruction provided.

Community Partners in Education: Oak Hill School & Bonebrake Center
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

($1 donation suggested at the Bonebrake Center, lunch on your own in Salem)

Teachers and interpreters will visit two sites where they can see “crossing the streams” in action! Oak Hill R-1 School District (a K-8 public school in southern Dent County) has developed partnerships with government agencies and non-profit groups to interpret nature and culture while meeting curriculum standards. Middle school students will show us the school’s outdoor classroom and Monarch Butterfly project site and lead their own interpretive program for younger students. Then travel to the Bonebrake Center of Nature and History to participate in several hands-on outreach programs.


AMI Scholarship and Professional Development Auction begins at 8:00 p.m.

Looking for Stuff! The annual AMI auction raises funds to provide student scholarships and professional development stipends. YOU CAN HELP — Talk to your neighborhood businesses; check your closets; bring items to donate to the registration table. Your generosity makes this happen every year!

Thursday, September 13th

 Concurrent Sessions continue 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Detailed agenda will be provided in your packet at registration.

 AMI Lunch and Business Meeting 12:00 -2:00 p.m.

To Register for the Workshop:

  • Go to to register for the workshop
  • Your registration confirmation email will provide details on how to proceed with payment via cash, check, or credit The registration survey does NOT include a payment option. Payment must be made with AMI treasurer Michelle Soenksen.
  • Registration & Payment Deadline: August 24, 2018

Workshop Registration:
Full Registration: $90                                     Lifetime Member Registration: $75
Student Registration: $45                                               One-Day Registration: $25


AMI 2018 Fall Conference News


The conference planning committee has been busy getting things together for this fall’s conference. They are asking for your help to bring auction items from your own stash or items donated by a business.

If you like it but just don’t need it anymore bring it to the conference and there will probably be somebody that see it and it is exactly what they have been looking for. You clean out your storage and fix up another member at the same time.

Call for Papers

Here is your chance to present at the upcoming AMI conference at Echo Bluffs. Check out the attached document for more information.

Upcoming Project Archaeology Workshops

Project Archaeology fieldwork at the Atkins- Johnson Farm Home in 2014.

There will be two Project Archaeology workshops will be held in Missouri this summer, one in Independence and one in Jefferson City.

Archaeology and the interpretation of the human occupation of our parks and sites can be a fascinating presentation to visitors.  The Project Archaeology curriculum can easily be adapted to visitor talks and activities.

Participants will receive full instruction in archaeological science for the classroom and a complete curriculum guide and materials. Both workshops will offer optional field trips and archaeological fieldwork.

A scholarship is being made available for an interpreter to attend the Independence Project Archaeology Workshop, July 23-27, 2018, at no cost. Interested applicants should write 100 words describing why you want to take the workshop and how you anticipate using the Project Archaeology materials at your site.
CLICK HERE for more information on how to apply for the scholarship.

Create Your Own Path at the 2017 AMI Workshop-Registration Now Open!


In September the Association of Missouri Interpreters will travel to Steelville, Missouri for the 2017 annual conference. The focus will be “Creating Your Own Path” to better interpretation through sessions, keynotes, and field trips.  Those who call the Ozarks home, and those who called it home in the past, know exactly what it is like to create their own path.  The rugged landscape of the Ozarks, along with the allure of its rivers and streams and mysterious caves, has drawn people to its beauty for centuries.  The rich forests and rivers were paths to commerce and recreation; sustaining those who chose to stay and make a home there.  For these reasons, the field trips offered this year will focus on our Missouri heritage in the Ozarks.  We will visit places of splendor and history within each field trip because, let’s be honest, we cannot truly think about one without the other.  These trips will emphasize the rock upon which the beauty of the Ozarks resides, the rock upon which the towns, homesteads, and industry grew.  We will look at the natural, commercial, and recreational value of the area’s springs and streams.  They are the veins pumping life into the communities and into the verdant landscape. We will visit towns and people who celebrate our natural and cultural heritage by protecting and displaying it for those who choose to visit.  These people are the life blood of this part of the Ozarks.  They celebrate the natural beauty through paths of preservation, conservation, and education.  They display the heritage of their communities- from the Osage Indians who trekked the rugged terrain to the flashy “new” Route 66 that has brought travelers from distant places to experience our Midwest Americana.  This conference’s field trips will not only lead you down the area’s natural and cultural paths, but also challenge you to create new paths of interpretation.  Whether it is through reaching out to new or underserved groups or rethinking activities and partnerships to reach diverse audiences, there will be something for everyone at the 2017 Association of Missouri Interpreters conference.  Make plans to join us September 11- 14 in Steelville, MO!  Check out the Conference tab for more information, call for papers, and registration information!

Upcoming Certified Interpretive Guide Training

CIG photoThe Certified Interpretive Guide program is designed for anyone who delivers interpretive programs to the public. It combines both the theoretical foundations of the profession with practical skills in delivering quality interpretive programming to visitors.





This 32-hour course includes:

  • history, definition, and principles of interpretation
  • making your programs purposeful, enjoyable, relevant, organized, and thematic
  • using tangible objects to connect audiences to intangible ideas and universal concepts in interpretive programs
  • presentation and communication skills
  • certification requirements (optional)


Dates: March 14-17, 2017 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Location: Burr Oak Woods Nature Center, Blue Springs, Missouri

Cost: $45 for course instruction, workbook and materials (does not include certification)

Certification Cost: $195, includes 1 year complimentary National Association of Interpretation membership (includes workshop cost $45 plus $150 certification cost)

Sign-Up: Wendy Parrett (816) 759-7305 ext. 1133 or


The CIG certification will also be offered as part of the Missouri State Park’s Spring Interpretive Training School being held at Cuivre River State Park May 21-24, 2017.   Anyone interested should contact Kendra Swee for more information.

AMI Challenges You to “Create Your Own Path” at the 2017 AMI Workshop

 AMI - Create Your Own Path

As many of you may know I am a bit of a Star Wars nerd. I also tend not to follow protocol.  So when asked to chair the 2017 AMI Conference committee I am sure there was a collective cringe and immediate thought of “oh no, what is she going to do?!”  Although I find your lack of faith disturbing, that was probably an apt assessment because the planning committee is going ROGUE.  We are breaking boundaries (as in regional boundaries) and looking to showcase how you can Create Your Own Path to better interpretation.  We as an organization are finding our way again, creating a new path.  We have gone through a lot of changes this past year and some of that change has been painful.  This is a new day, a new beginning…because we have hope.  Rebellions are built on HOPE.  🙂

With any rebellion, there must be a base from which to gather intel, rally the troops, and deploy the squadrons to affect change. So a short time ago, in a part of Missouri far, far away our rogue group found the perfect location from which to train our elite force, the interpretive troopers. Located in the crux of 3 regions (St. Louis, southeast, and southwest), Steelville is an area rich in natural beauty and cultural significance.  It is small town (population 1,692) and Crawford County seat, but most often known as the “floating capital of Missouri”. It is nestled between such popular floating rivers as the Huzzah, Courtois, and Meramec.  Although smaller than many of our previous conference locations, Steelville is located less than 10 miles from Interstate 44, near historic Route 66, and in close proximity to the Ozark’s natural beauty and cultural sites often overlooked by our membership.

1WildwoodSpringsLodge-499x333One culturally significant location is our conference headquarters. Wildwood Springs Lodge was built in 1922 by a group of sportsmen from St. Louis.  As was popular at the time, these men planned to develop a resort, complete with lodge and cabins, for their membership to enjoy the beauty and outdoor recreation the Ozarks had to offer.  Upon completion of the Lodge the leading members of the group decided the lodge should be open to the public. The group initially had plans to develop the style of resort saw in the movie “Dirty Dancing”, but fell on hard times and only the lodge and couple other building were completed.  The resort was very popular until it closed during WWII.  While closed, the lodge served as a boarding house for the wives of military men.  These women made bandages to supply the troops overseas.  After the war the lodge reopened.  The lodge has remained a popular vacation venue ever since.  To learn more about Wildwood Springs Lodge or to view photos, please visit their website at

For over 100 years, the interpreters have been the guardians of knowledge and stewardship in our natural and cultural resources. Being successful for so long means you must adapt to changes in society to stay relevant.  You must search out new ways to reach your audience.  You must reach out to audiences with whom you have not had contact before.  You must create a new path, your own path, to better interpretation. Do or do not, there is no try.

So if you are ready to join forces with our band of rebels, we would be honored if you would join us September 11th through 14th at our base in Steelville, MO for the 2017 Association of Missouri Interpreters Conference.  If you would like to join the rebellion even earlier, your assistance with planning the conference would be greatly appreciated.  Contact Kendra Swee at  for ways you can help!

Stay tuned for updates on field sessions, the call for papers, and registration details!